The art of Adeela Suleman is built of common cooking utensils found in her home of Karachi, Pakistan. Suleman utilizes objects such as strainers, measuring spoons, tongs, and enamel pots among many others. While many of her pieces appear organic, others seem to be a form of armor or helmet. She juxtaposes traditionally domestic tools with the appearance of items of aggression and physical protection. Perhaps, a reminder of physical abuse directed against women as well as the absurdity of violence.
The work of Matthew Picton is something more than a map, even something more than a model city. He meticulously builds cities from paper. Each buildings wall is built from a strip of paper leaving its interior empty. In a way his three dimensional maps get at the personality of a city. Speaking about cartography Picton says,
“There is some intrinsic quality to cartography that goes beyond the scientific document – a beauty of form and detail, a record of past times and places, something that lives as a world in which imagination can flow; places to re-visit, places to re-imagine, a world to re-make itself in the imagination.” [via]
Several of his pieces depict cities before and after a natural disaster or war. The charred strips of paper mark burnt or crumbled buildings. Pockets of burnt paper seem more like injuries than a cold record of a past fact.
Livia Marin‘s Broken Things seem just fine. The sculptures of her Broken Things series do indeed appear to be broken ceramic dishware. However, for what the household items lost in usefulness retain in its aesthetic value. Congealed liquid seems to pour out of the damaged cups. The decorative patterns are pulled along out with the container’s little spill. The sculptures are reminiscent of a family’s “good china” – utilitarian objects that seem to cherished for their decorative nature rather than ever see any use.
Artist Chris Dorosz uses a unique painting technique. He drips paint droplets onto plastic rods. When arranged the rods form a three dimensional image, a pointillism like sculpture. Step back from the screen for a moment – the disparate dots congeal to from images of people. The fact that this is similar to the way a low resolution digital image works is not an accident. Dorosz revels in the idea of the drop as a basic unit of constructing a painting. He says:
“Out of material discovery I began to regard the primacy of the paint drop, a form that takes shape not from a brush or any human-made implement or gesture, but purely from its own viscosity and the air it falls through, as analogous to the building blocks that make up the human body (DNA) or even its mimetic representation (the pixel).”
In her upcoming exhibit at Ambach & Rice, artist Ellen Lesperance intently and painstakingly reconstructs the sweaters of feminism’s heroines. Hand drawn and hand knit, the installation serves to attach these women’s politcal ideals and activism to their personal identity. Lesperance lovingly presents the objects nearly as if they were relics. Indeed, throughout the exhibit Lesperance alludes to ancient heroines in connection with these modern ones. In that light, the sweaters become a sort of “soft armor” in a struggle that extends from ancient female warriors to today’s feminist activists. Appropriately, the title of Lesperance’s exhibit is It’s Never Over.
The ‘carcasses’ of Tamara Kostianovsky are made entirely of her own clothing. She ‘cannabalizes’ her clothes to create life size racks of meat, fat, and bone. Using unwanted clothing, Kostianovsky emphasizes the human body and its constant physical demands. The work becomes a kind of parable for the nearly violent cycle of consumption. She says of the series:
“My intention is to confront the viewers with the real and grotesque nature of violence, offering a context for reflecting about the vulnerability of our physical existences, brutality, poverty, consumption, and the voracious needs of the body.”
The medium of artist Caroline Slotte is a familiar one. Dishes commonly found in homes and thrift shops become surprising dioramas. The simple images usually hidden under food become multilayered narratives. The many memories associated with family meals, dinner parties, milestone celebrations aren’t lost on Slotte. She says of her medium choice:
” Objects in our private sphere stir feelings in us and connect us to our history. They are tangible reminders of the past, of our own life story, and that of the family. In this way the most humble object can function as a key to the past, as a key to our inner.”
The work of artist Michael Murphy emphasizes personal perspective. Murphy builds upon several layers to construct a larger image only seen from a precise angle. When stepping away from that angle the image descends back into abstraction. Murphy uses this to express the social and political ideas implied several of his pieces. A portrait of Barack Obama diffuses to reveal very many shades of skin tones which accumulate to form a whole portrait. The simple shape of a Christian Crucifix is dismantled into an iconology of the symbol – a visual conversation of contemporary issues associated with the religion.